tv [untitled] August 8, 2010 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
>> i don't believe you can access the internet from here. >> ok. well, i'll refer to it, then. supervisors, the project has had a program on san francisco community access since 1994. we have fought for transparency and public accountability at the community access station. when you rejected, the rules committee rejected the additional money, $375,000 previously, to previous meeting on this issue, you said you were concerned about transparency and accountability. of vaback. that's a legitimate concern. others have spoke to that. it turns out that in fact this issue has not been resolved. a complaint was filed with the sunshine commission over the violation of the sunshine ordinance. because they were not providing documents to members of the public and users of community access. the commission after listening to the report voted that, in
fact, vaback violated the ordinance, had not provided documentation. i don't think that bodes well for giving them another $375,000. one of the things about the studio, the big studio, they spent $695,000, including capital money, to shut down the station which was built at a cost of $1 millionle to move to vaback. they did this under the city saying they would only provide $170,000 in operating expenses. however that station could have stayed open since capital money was used to pay the rent there. in our view first of all if you look for san francisco comments on the internet, go to google and look for it, you can't find it. what you find is vaback. so this operation, they say they are highly skilled in video and internet cannot even have a side out you can find on google. san francisco comments after them being in charge of the operation for many months.
i find that questionable. since they have many experts on use of video and telecommunications, why can't you find san francisco comments? it's my view in fact they are not interested in making the shows accessible and aware, making people aware of those shows. for example, if you go to find our show or upcoming show will be august 13, if you go to the site, go -- search through their site, you look for it, you go to august 13, it's not there. it says no programming available. this is for an operation that's said, it's required in their franchise agreement, they were going to make it accessible to the public to find out about the shows. yet they haven't done that basic thing to help publicize the shows. in our view i think it would be wrong to give them the additional money without further compliance and oversight. the other question is -- supervisor campos: thank you very much. >> they don't have public board meetings. i think that's a problem as
well. supervisor campos: next speaker, please. thank you. >> good morning, supervisors. my name is nick. i'm a public access cable tv producer. with about eight years experience at another station. not the san francisco station. i urge you to not allow vaback to get additional money from the comcast account. on the basis that they have very similar to what steve has said, not exhibited the amount of trp -- transparency and accountability that the expenditure of public funds requires. i filed the complaint with the sunshine ordinance task force that ruled that they had violated the sunshine law on may 25 of this year.
vaback has been very difficult to communicate with. and to give you one example when i submitted programs way back in november, initially it was easy to do and then i submitted a second set in december and i was told, mind you after already having been through their application process, i was told that this time i had to let them scan my driver's license into their computer system. i wrote the executive director a letter on december 20 which now eight or nine months later i still don't have a reply from. that was why i went to sunshine. i was getting nothing but stonewalled there. i have later found out that my driver's license without my knowledge or consent, they scanned my picture with my i.d.
on it was outsourced to a -- one. largest web-based companies -- one of the largest web-based companies in the world, sales force.com. that's without my permission. i am trying to get a copy of the contract between them and sales force that explicitly states that they have a contractual relationship. they are even being rather round about in answering that. i'm very concerned with identity theft. i'm very concerned with my privacy. i believe they have violated my first and fourth amendment rights by being so obscure, obtuse and not being -- they should be open about this. whenever they ask for such confidential information. as you may know even d.m.v. law places severe restrictions on the use of a copy of a driver's license. i think vaback has been -- has ignored those. i see i have 10 seconds left here.
i intend to keep trying to get information about the money they have already spent. i think they waste the tremendous amounts of money -- supervisor campos: thank you very much. another speaker. tracy and any other member of the public please line up. follow the same order. >> good morning. my name is ken i'm the executive director of the coalition. thank you in particular. -- i really wanted to in anticipation -- in response to comments already made and comments that may follow go on the record in terms of framing the intention and history of service. we are not an organization. we were founded in 1976 and we are grounded in history of innovation. it's been built around several principle that is have held fast through time. first we want to honor the experience, diverse experience of san francisco residents. that's extnded beyond san francisco since then. because we believe that stories
in particular are transformative. they are a vehicle for understanding, for communication, for social change. and that is really at the heart of it one of the principle reasons we are very interested in becoming the public access office. the s.s.t. part operator when it was developing was housed at vaback. we entered this agreement without any conflict. it's been a steep learning curve. we have been in pun lick -- public service for many years. i think one of the difficulty challenges that we have had is changing this model. we have been forced with the operating support to not only maintain the level of service that was there prior to that, with over $1 million a year for us at ctc, but also meet and exceed those. again our focus has been on sustain ability. we have had to -- sustainability.
we have had to make difficult decisions. in that the documentation will follow an my colleagues and producers here simple one is reducing the rent on a monthly bay friss $17,000 down to about $4,800 in terms of the cost now at our facility. so for us in the spirit of this, we have embraced open communication, but we have really been forced to really speak to the truth that we know. and to present the information directly to department of technology and requested to individuals. but not to engage in a point by point rebuttal for everything that's been raised. so we hope we can ask your support. this is to maintain the operations of public access. and we will be accountable. we are accountable how public dollars are spent. thank you. supervisor campos: thank you very much. next speaker, please. >> my name is steven, i am the host of one of the weekly shows here at san francisco commons which is the program, the program is the first show to
have come out of the facility at 2727 marea posea street and we went on the air in february. the transition has been difficult. vaback is not without its faults, but in my own experience i think they have been incredible to work with. my show has expanded from basically being a live operation to one that is a much broader based program in the sense that it actually takes you out of the studio and into the community and we have focused on things that are of interest to san francisco and the greater world. most specifically when i first went on the air we did a bike to work show which actually we filmed outside at city hall. we also focused on closing off of -- closing of an incubator,
and i wouldn't have had this opportunity if it wasn't for public access television and the people at bayback. i think the points and good points have been raised by other people but i think it's dirty laundry. these are things that we producers need to talk to them about. i think they are listening. they are excellent educators. as ken said they have been in the business for a long time. running two television channels is new to them. and i think they are learning. they are still learning. i think it's our responsibility as producers to actually hold their feet to the fire and make them deliver the public access television channels which i think san francisco deserves. and in my view that they are the ones best capable of doing it. so please release the money and thank you very much for listening. supervisor campos: thank you. next speaker. >> my name is ray. i'm the president of media crew
which is a youth program in san francisco. i offer you something for your files about -- basically i'll just read the programs description. mission purpose, media crew is a youth based digital media art studio dedicated to production, consciousness, creative, and quality media sharing, diversity, and -- sharing diverse and rarely heard youth perspectives or stories to audiences around the world. we promote lifelong learning, leadership among the youth in san francisco inner city communities. through our unique youth training program in media arts and digital video, youth
participants develop education voice around community issues. gain technology skills and raise employibility while being involved in the community as being productive and new leaders. this is what i have been working on for the last maybe five or six years. this is our answer to community media. video, the video people here, i was there also in 1975. you guys may not remember me, but i was there when this nonprofit was being developed. but i dropped away from it. what i'm saying is for youth media to be put on the air and produce, it has to be produced with trainers from the community. from the community. bayback from my experience working with young people could
not get into bayback because maybe they were -- they wasn't ready. to drop the grits and bacon for crapes and/or rang juice. like some of my -- and orange juice. like some of my people have done. that's the contradictions, not that it's not doing well for it but i'm advocating for the uner city youth that need and have good, good items of social change but because of their trainers they are not getting the full attention and access to the technology, the media, and the money. this program does that. i made that happen. from hunter's point, through the mission district youth that are failing school are artists that produce programs for not only san francisco but throughout
ports of california. supervisor campos: thank you very much. next speaker. >> hi, supervisors. good morning. my name is tracy, director of immediate alliance. i have spoken to you before on this issue and i will once again. let's start with some numbers. the operating budget for access san francisco the last couple of years was $895,000. bayback is receiving an annual subsidy from you of $190,000. in addition they receive $700,000 from the department of technology for capital extenses -- capital expenses they have requested. if we do the math, $it equals $900,000. you are being asked to release $295,000 more in additional money so they can keep the doors opened. that's $1.2 million annual budget to keep the doors opened.
for that you have less open hours. no evenings. and weekends whatsoever. you have less local programming on the air. you have higher cost. memberships for individuals and you have less training classes. just so you understand that. for $1.2 million. why would someone have trouble keeping the doors opened with $1.2 million? i think you have to look at having spent more than a couple hundred thousand dollars tearing down a facility you already had. moving across-town, and rebuilding it back up. that's where much of your $700,000 has been spent. that's not the best track record in the world. i want to reiterate that there is a complaint from your own sunshine task force that was upheld. that's important. i want to reiterate i have been waiting for one year to go talk to bayback's board of directors about the concerns that i have regarding public access
services. the first opportunity for me to do so will be august 23, 2010. i had that as one year after the contract was signed. 12 months to give public input to the board of directors of a nonprofit that says they are accountable. that doesn't make sense to me. you have your own producers, their own producers coming here saying, hold their feet to the fire. i just heard that. i think maybe we need to hold their feet to the fire. and i think the way that we do that is by saying, you need to do a little better than you have been doing before we drop good money after the $900,000 we have already spent this year. i would ask you not to approve the settlement. i don't think public access services in san francisco are where they need to be. thanks. supervisor campos: thank you. next speaker, please.
>> good morning. i'm archbishop richardson. i've been doing access for about 15 years and i'm basically supporting that the funds be approved from comcast to come in because the first amendment right is involved. we have a lot of problems but there are more problems that are about to occur in washington. there is a bill going through congress right now to actually have money go to the state for broadcasting, no longer coming to the cities. what this bill will do is basically cut more funding away from public access. so, in other words, if this bill passes the house, congress and signed. the funding will no longer come to san francisco. it will go to sacramento. and what's going to happen? it's going to be less money. so that means that poor people that have access to cable won't
be able to watch it because they can't afford to pay. . $60, $70, $80, $90 and food comes first. what we have to do here in sentences go is we cannot dwell on our own issues. -- what we have to do here in san francisco is the cannot dwell on our own issues. we are one of the leaders in this nation on public access. it is important to set this record straight and get it done. we have focused on a first amendment rights. as a city and as a community, we need to get more involved as producers, and have access to whatever information is needed.
that of course must be done. but we must keep an eye on washington -- keep a close eye on d.c. if, for some reason, we are having problems running public access, they are going to take it away. if they take it away, we lose a big battle of access producers being able to show their own work of art. so i am for comcast giving up the money. we have many problems in san francisco, but we do not need to lose our public access tv station. we should keep it going. if they are out of compliance, they need to get checked and balanced. there need to be some more
producers on these committees that can come back to you with the message. chairperson campos: thank you. next speaker. >> my name is howard. it has come to my attention that members of the borders of -- of the board of supervisors have seen a stumbling block in the media alliance. as the media alliance treasurer, i want to thank you for your deference to this fine organization. however, in my opinion you have been misled by the testimony of the executive director of our organization in putting forth her personal opinions as those of the organization.
before i get to that, i want to say i also serve on the san francisco commons community advisory board. i have been a producer of weekly shows on san francisco cable access since the beginning of 2006. i would rather spend my time telling you the reasons that i feel the bay event deserves our thanks and congratulations. but there are many reasons i feel compelled to deal with a more negative issue, not the least of which is my regard -- excuse me. because of my unique position of serving on both boards and my years of involvement with both communities, i feel it is incumbent on me to refute the claims and testimony on which you have been relying. there are two important points
that i wish you to consider. first and foremost, i want you to be aware that miss rosenberg's statements on this matter do not reflect a formal position of the alliance board. in spite of my call for a vote at the beginning of the year, we debated the matter before the board and others expressed opinions, but no vote was taken due to pressing fiscal matters we were addressing and the fears by some members that the issue would become divisive at a bad time. media alliance has been a longtime supporter of access as of -- access sf. it was ms. rosenberg's decision to move her media news to the berkeley cable access studio at the beginning of the year. this is logistically sensible, as media alliance is an oakland based organization and she is an
east bay residents. but i do not understand how she can claim to represent cable access producers with whom she has severed ties. in light of these considerations, asked the rules committee and board of supervisors to reassess the weight they have given to her prior testimony, which i am willing to certify as incomplete, uninformed, and riddled with inaccuracies, which amounted to address on a point by point basis, if you would give me the time to do so. chairperson campos: thank you. next speaker, please. >> my name is ken johnson. i have been involved with cable television public access since its beginning. i have been involved with a lot of groups throughout the city, and the main reason -- what we
were trying to accomplish with public access was to put up studios throughout the city where they have had in this. that is the connection where you can televise your programming from a head in. there are 11 throughout the city. that used to cost -- the cost of equipment prohibited that in the past. but now video cameras are down to three or 400 cameras -- ree or $400. you can buy a good camera for less than $1,000. to open up these different facilities throughout the city, you would get more youngsters involved, more communities involved. right now, you have one facility. what i am saying is give them the funds with a stipulation that they would open up
community access facilities throughout the city, like the flash studios. i know supervisor ross has seen a flash studio. have you other supervisors seen a flash studio and know what that is? chairperson campos: this is a time for public comment. we do not interact. it is for us to listen to what you have to say. >> what i am saying is i have been teaching a class with brothers of change. i have some of my students here who can speak to the importance of media. having won facility is good, but it should be more open to the public. if you had studios to wrap the city, where these head ins are at, you could get more youngsters off the street. television production is really
-- it helped change my life. if i did not get involved with the television, there is no telling what might have happened with me. what i am saying is give bay back the money, with stipulation that they would provide money for community centers to open up satellite facilities. i talked with mr. -- i am not a good speaker. i talked with mr. frazier and the department. chairperson campos: thank you very much. next speaker, please. >> my name is jen gilliman.
i am the director of media strategies and managed the commons program at bay bak. we have had quite a year. it has been a challenge merging these two communities and trying to start of the programs at market street, undergoing a transition, getting things up and started, and trying to welcome more people into public access. that has been our goal. i hope you will look at the cover sheet and that entire report, which chronicles an entire year of good faith efforts on our part to be more inclusive with public access, to bring more people in, to use the resources the best we can, to deal with this $170,000 to pay my staff members, one of whom is funded through the stimulus jobs now program through the end of september. without these $375,000 we will
probably have to let them go. to tell you a little bit about the day-to-day operations of what goes on at the station, which provide free field gear to all of the producers, which is cameras, lights, tripods, microphones -- anything they need to do production in the field. we provide a main studio space with white grid and microphones they can use. we have a flash studio -- with light grid and microphones they can use. we have people editing in the edit suites. when we do not have edit suites available, we put them into a computer lab. we teach them to use e-mail so we can communicate with them more effectively. we host community meetings and public events. every month, we do some sort of networking and community event. we do orientations by appointments.
all they need to do is call us and make an appointment. we give them a tour of the facility and tell them how they can begin to produce programs. we provide training at a very low cost. each is about $20 to $60. we implemented a low-income membership program for $10 a year. people have access to everything i described. my staff members are working really, really hard to get all of that done. i really want to increase the membership, increase access, and gradually build these programs over time. we are working with the city pretty extensively on broadband adoption and trying to make use of the comcast fiber network that exists. we used a lot of our capital money to equip cultural centers so we can do training there, bring more access into the community, put field here there, and help them produce live shows from their theaters.